Tag Archives: #shoplocal

SeeKarenFollow: This Week

So, yeah, it’s been a while.  And you would think that I would have lots of pictures from Instagram to share during my absence.  But when this lady takes a break, she means it.  So here is what little I have to show and tell from the last two weeks.

I saved some of my hubby’s old t-shirts from the donation bin to make some t-shirt yarn.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with it yet.  There are just so many options to choose, it overwhelms me.

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brunch #seekarencook #annumography

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The hubby made me a brunch sammie on gluten-free bread and served it up with some pickled shrimp.  Yum!  Who’s a lucky wife?

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137/365 do-over #365project #seekarencook

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This is the only evidence remaining of my latest epic recipe fail.  Crab-stuffed something sounded good, I had some zucchini in the fridge, and quinoa would make it all gluten-free.  Long story short, do not try to talk yourself into thinking that canned crab meat will work in a pinch.  It doesn’t.  Didn’t I learn anything from Top Chef?

Fortunately these lovely people have been much more productive than I over the last couple of weeks, giving me lots of goodies to pin on Pinterest.

  1. Okay, so if I had this blooming monogram on my wall, do you think I would keep my promise to always have fresh flowers in the house?
  2. This bulldog corkboard mural is too cute to be confined in a kid’s bedroom (though it is awesome there).  I say do some excellent pop art installation on your living room wall with it.
  3. I want one of all my favorite animals as framed fabric art.
  4. Direct your attention to your best asset with this lace-embellished t-shirt.  (Yes, I mean your booty.  Don’t you think the lace draws your attention down the line?)
  5. I need these rummage sale tips to get my resale mojo back.  More selling = more buying, so I need to get to it.
  6. Really, do I need to say anything else except strawberry margarita cupcakes?
  7. I know that I don’t need to say again how much I love bacon.   Besides, I will just be reminding you again in a few days.  But don’t you want some of these maple-bacon muffins with crumbled bacon glaze right now?
  8. I think I will have lots more success with this crispy buffalo quinoa bites salad.  No canned crab to make it go oh-so-wrong.
  9. Shut up!  Peanut-butter-cup-stuffed chocolate-dipped Oreos?  I might be salivating like Pavlov’s dog.
  10. I experienced another great minds think alike moment with this chocolate sour cream tortilla cake.  I have some leftover corn tortillas that I know would make a kick-butt dessert.  Once I get it down, I’ll be sure to share it with you all.

I also wanted to encourage everyone in or around the Indianapolis area to attend An Enchanted Spring Market this Friday and Saturday, May 24-25th.  Nicki has been posting about all the great vendors who will be there, and it sounds like it’s going to be great.  Memorial Day Weekend is a busy one around here, more because of the Indy 500 than my birthday of course, so don’t forget to make some room in your calendar for this vintage/crafty shopping opportunity.


SeeKarenFollow: This Week

If it weren’t for Instagram, I don’t know if I would remember what I’ve done in a week’s time.

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98/365 daffodil #365project

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I am now convinced that Spring has arrived, because the daffodils say so.  This (blurry) photo was taken from my car window, because I was too late for work to get out and take the shot.  I’ve been oversleeping every day this week; I think it’s a combination of the allergy medication and my lack of desire to go to work.

What started out as jumping-up-and-down excitement that we were replacing our busted-down front door quickly turned to dejection.  As is often the case with our turn-of-the-century home, a custom solution is required.  Did you know that ‘custom solution’ = $$$$$?!?

It’s true.  I can’t roll out a round pizza dough.  And I’m too scared to even think about tossing one.  Thanks to excellent ingredients like gluten-free pizza dough from BeeFree Bakery and pizza sauce from Local Folks Foods, it didn’t matter much how the pizza looked.

So what have you been pinning on Pinterest this week?  I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.

  1. Now that I’ve painted a basket neon, why not add some neon-painted candlesticks from the thrift store?
  2. I often think that it’s the simplest crafts that lead to the most beautiful results.  Case in point, this moss-covered wreath.
  3. This pom-pom embellished lampshade with its scrolled interior is giving me so many ideas right now.
  4. Speaking of embellishment, I’m trying to figure out which of my sweaters needs some new button and grosgrain ribbon bling.
  5. I have a few items of my grandparents’ clothing that will always remind me of them, so this wallet made from a suit coat could be a great way to carry them with me every day.
  6. Did you know that Goo Gone was so potentially harmful.  I’ve got to admit that I had a good idea.  I’m definitely going to be making some of this DIY non-toxic goo remover for myself, my friends, and my family.
  7. This springtime crockpot minestrone is perfect for a full-of-projects day like today.
  8. You had me at beets: creamy beet salad with walnuts.
  9. Just substituting some gluten-free cookies in this microwave single-serving apple pie may make it my next go-to dessert.  Also, this post asks the question: to cheese or not to cheese?
  10. I’m not able to pin images for this Cucumber Blonde Bloody Mary, but it is definitely going on my to-drink list.

Gluten-Free Chorizo Enchilada Breakfast Casserole

It all started with a weekend breakfast that was good…but not great.  My husband didn’t even clean his plate, and he LOVES breakfast.  On the other hand, I hate to throw away food, and there were a couple more servings leftover from this throwaway breakfast.  What did I do?  Oh, just layer it up in a pan, cover it in Local Folks Foods Enchilada Sauce, and smother it in cheese.

I had sliced the entire roll of pre-cooked polenta (like this one) and fried it in a little olive oil. I thought the crispy fried polenta rounds would make a good base for the casserole.  Bonus, this polenta is gluten-free.

Over the polenta rounds, I layered local eggs that I scrambled with Smoking Goose chorizo.  And you may have noticed that I will roast just about any vegetable that stays put long enough.  This blend includes tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms.  I added these over the top of the egg/chorizo blend.

Over the top went the enchilada sauce and a lot of shredded Mexican-blend cheese.  I popped it into the oven and minutes later enjoyed my yummy, new breakfast favorite.  Even better, the casserole improved after being refrigerated, re-heated, and served for brinner (breakfast for dinner) the next day alongside some avocado slices.

So, this isn’t really a recipe per se, but I will do my best to write down what I did.  Feel free to make substitutions: leave out the eggs, switch up the veggies, etc.  My leftovers made an 8×8″ pan, but using all the ingredients should easily fill a 9×13″ baking dish.

Gluten-Free Chorizo Enchilada Breakfast Casserole

1 pint grape tomatoes
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 c. mushrooms, sliced
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 lb. roll pre-cooked gluten-free polenta
6 large eggs
1 lb. chorizo
12 oz. enchilada sauce
2 c. shredded Mexican-blend cheese (or more to taste)

Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.  Place tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms in a shallow roasting pan.  Drizzle with 1 T. olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir vegetables to completely coat/season.  Place in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to brown.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Slice polenta into 1/2-inch slices.  Heat 1 T. olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat; add polenta slices. Brown polenta on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and allow to cool.  Set aside.

Place chorizo in skillet and saute over medium-high until cooked completely. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk together eggs in a medium bowl and pour over cooked chorizo. Stir until eggs are cooked completely, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Place polenta slices in a 9×12-inch baking dish.  Top first with egg mixture and then with vegetables.  Pour enchilada sauce over the layers, then top with cheese.  Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and begins to bubble.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Makes 6-8 servings.

SeeKarenFollow: This Week

Maybe these posts should be sub-titled ‘What I Do When I’m Not Blogging’, since I seem to be on Instagram all the time lately.

I started the week with some thrift store and antique mall shopping.  Every time I look at the shot of this brass trunk, I want to jump in my car and go buy it.  Sigh.

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I’m not going to buy this baby, though.  I’m going to hack it and put it in my kitchen.  I think it will be a pretty easy project, and I get to use power tools.  Bonus.

There were also a few pictures of furniture made from wagon wheels.  I share these for my husband, because we have a running joke about wagon wheels a la When Harry Met Sally.  We even have a wagon wheel, which I will make into a table.  Someday.

This is a my Goodwill haul.  I am Madison Avenue’s dream, because marketing TOTALLY works on me.  Example: I buy more at Goodwill to get the discount with my rewards card.  But this $50 worth of junk will give me hours of joy.

Play along: Do you see the bunny in the picture above?

I ate all of this Aussie Burger: lettuce, onion, pickled beets, grilled pineapple, local fried egg, Smoking Goose bacon, ketchup and mayo.  And then I had a tummy ached from eating the bun.  Dear Punch Burger, will you still serve me if I B.Y.O.B. (bring my own bun)?

I made Cocoa Puff muffins to celebrate my boss’ birthday.  But he took an unannounced vacation day, so we ate them in his honor.  In front of his closed office door.  What?

Speaking of work, I have my own little plant nursery going on in my cubicle.  I didn’t think I would have much success with the little forget-me-not seeds that I received during the 14 Days of Valentines, but those little suckers are GROWING under the flourescent lights.  Good thing something flourishes there.

Last week I watched Contagion for the first time.  I know.  I’m a little behind.  But now I think of Dr. Ian Sussman every time I write a post.  “Blogging is not writing; it’s graffiti with punctuation.”  That’s me alright.

Now on to what I am pinning this week.

  1. 29 Rue House is inspiring me to pimp my own spider-back chair.
  2. Man…now I have to add vintage light globes to my list of things to hunt for in thrift shops.
  3. I absolutely need a couple of these granny square pillows in my life.
  4. I’m always looking for a way to dress up a t-shirt and wear it to work.  Now I just need to decided on which one I will add leather shoulder trim.
  5. I’m a little scared, because I haven’t had the best luck in the past, but I may try making some jewelry this weekend.  This chevron necklace inspires me.
  6. I love bubble tea, and it’s not easy to find in Indy.  Maybe I need to make my own and add this coffee version to the mix.
  7. Poaching an egg in olive oil?  Love it!
  8. This cookie stamping technique is giving me soooo many ideas.
  9. Cross-stitch?  Yes.  Foxes?  Yes!  I’m so excited about the faux-stitch pattern on these bags.
  10. You may find me on the couch this Sunday night watching The Ten Commandments and crafting these plastic lace woven hangers.  Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner just do it for me, what can I say?

Here’s wishing you all a happy, sunny, blessed Easter weekend!

Quick Pickles: {Snow} Peas and Carrots

I have the best intentions.  Weekly I order a bin of fresh, beautiful produce from Green Bean Delivery with plans to up my daily intake of fruits and vegetables.  Then life gets in the way, I eat carryout on the couch a couple of times, and I am left with task of making room in the fridge for my next weekly delivery.

This week, I found myself staring down some snow peas and pre-cut carrots languishing in the crisper drawer.  (The pre-cut carrots were not purchased from Green Bean, but were instead left over from a quick hummus run.  The bunch carrots in the shot above, however, are GB lovelies.)  With the refrigerator door wide-open, it occurred to me that I needed more pickles in my life.  A quick survey of the pickle shelf — yes, you read that correctly, an entire shelf — revealed jars of pickled cucumbers, peppers, olives, ginger, limes (my favorite Indian condiment), and tomatoes.  Not enough, I decided.

If you follow me on Pinterest, then you may know that I have already tried my hand at quick-pickled onions, beets, broccoli stems, and sugar snap peas.  With these recipes as inspiration, I prepped the snow peas and carrots for pickling.  In other words, I washed the snow peas and drained the pre-cut carrots.

Then my obsessive nature kicked in, and I removed all the tiny little stems from the snow peas.

To make both sets of pickles, I followed this basic recipe.  For the snow peas, I used rice wine vinegar, ginger root, shallots, fresh mint, and red pepper flakes.  The carrots were made with cider vinegar, fresh thyme, whole garlic cloves, and whole peppercorns.  I encourage you to play around with ingredients to use what you have on hand and what pleases your palate.

Quick Pickles
1 lb. produce of your choice, sliced into 1- or 2-bite-sized pieces if needed
2 c. vinegar of your choice (rice wine, cider, white wine, plain ol’ white…)
4 T. raw honey
1/4 t. ground or 1/2 t. whole dried pepper of your choice (peppercorns, red pepper…)
4 t. kosher salt
4 sprigs fresh, or 1 t. dried, herbs of your choice (dill, thyme, mint, oregano…)
aromatics of your choice, peeled and sliced (garlic cloves, sliced ginger root, sliced shallots…)

For firmer produce, like carrots or onions, blanch them in boiling water for 60 seconds, drain, and run under cold water to cool.

Place prepared produce in a quart canning jar, adding herbs and aromatics as you go.  Pack the produce as tightly as you can.  If you have some left over, it’s okay.  You will be able to fit it in later.

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, honey, pepper, and kosher salt.  Heat this mixture until it begins to boil, then remove from heat.  Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the packed produce in the canning jar.  If you had any produce that wouldn’t fit before, you can probably fit it in now.  Place the lid on the jar and close.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating.

Quick pickles will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.

Just a little under 24 hours, I cracked these babies open.  Sometimes I have trouble following directions.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I have the best of intentions.  I had an hour between appointments today, and I convinced myself that it was enough time to come home, love on my dogs, take a couple shots for this post, and eat before driving the 30 minutes to my destination.  Ha!  Within minutes of taking the picture above, I was running out of the house with plate in hand.  I took bites at stoplights…and a few in-between.  This was made more challenging, since the Vegenaise and Organic Ville BBQ sauce were a little drippy on my Smoking Goose roasted turkey and swiss sandwich.  If you’ve ever had Rudi’s gluten-free bread, you know that there were also plenty of little holes from which the saucy goodness could escape.

Texting while driving is illegal in Indiana, as it is in many states.  I mention this, because eating this sandwich while driving probably wasn’t the smartest thing either.  But (dear husband, close your eyes for this part), I only almost hit one car, and that was while I licked my fingers…not while balancing the plate with my steering hand.

I might have also taken this shot while the car was in motion, but I waited until the next stoplight to write my comment and post to Instagram.  Law enforcement officers, please do not arrest me.  I won’t do it again.

A Fox, A Squirrel, and A Bluebird Walk in to a Bar

Recently I posted about a gift that my husband and I bought for ourselves.  But we didn’t stop there.  On a warmer than usual December Saturday, we decided to wander down Mass Ave. in Indianapolis to do some more “Christmas shopping”.  One of the shops on our shop-local-hit-list was The Inventorialist.  We had done some window shopping on a previous evening, and I swear the inside of that store is what my dreams look like, so we had to go back.  I’m so happy we did, because the inventory a The Inventorialist exceeded my expectations.  We bought SO MANY things, but these prints from Aesthetic Apparatus are among my favorites.

If you hang around for very long, you will learn that I am obsessed with birds.  And squirrels.  And foxes.  And basically an entire cast of wild creatures.  My dogs are also obsessed with birds, squirrels, and an entire cast of wild creatures.  Though, I’m not sure how they would handle an encounter with a fox.  Recently we stumbled onto a hawk on our morning walk, and Buddy immediately dropped to the ground while Greta quietly scooted herself behind my husband’s legs for protection.

By the way, why is the plural of fox foxes, when the plural of ox is oxen?  Maybe I will start saying foxen.

Anyway.  When we were buying the prints, Kris mentioned that they would fit perfectly in an album cover frame.  Score!  Because we were looking for a clean-line frame at a budget-friendly price.  Remember, we had done quite a bit of “gift” shopping at this point.

Coupons in hand, I recently headed to the craft store to buy album cover frames.  As i was pouting about browsing the single option available at that store, my eyes wandered to these t-shirt frames.  Though the look and quality were about the same as the album frames, they were deeper.  Wouldn’t this give the prints more presence on the wall, I thought?  And when we are ready to replace the frames with something a little more quality, I may have more options for re-using the t-shirt frames than three lonely album cover frames.  (Yes, I am already dreaming up new crafty ideas.)

I placed the prints in the frames, and began a series of measurements.

  • I measured the width of the frames (13″).  I know the measurement is listed on the paper insert of the frame, but I wanted to know the width from one outside edge to the other.
  • I measured the center of the frames to double-check that I had replaced the hanging hardware in the correct position.
  • I measured the height of the frames (13″).  Yes, I know these are square.  So this measurement should be the same as the width, but I wanted to make sure.
  • I played around with the spacing between the three frames until I it looked just about right, and then I measured the distance between the frames (1 1/2″).  Then I measured the total height of the three frames as they would hang in a vertical arrangement on the wall (42″).

Next, I took my measurements to the wall.

  • I measured width of the wall where I wanted to hang the prints.  Well, really my husband did this.  Then he measured the center of that width.
  • He measured the total height of the three frames, so that the center of the arrangement was at approximate eye level.
  • He held a frame up against the wall, so that I could envision how the frames would look in relationship to the adjacent curtains, built-in bench, and furniture.  Do you all do this with your hanging partners?  Well, then you know that some discussion ensued.
  • We adjusted the measurements to take into account the curtains, bench, and discussion.
  • He measured up the distance of the frame height (13″) from the bottom of the total height (42″) and hammered in the first nail
  • He measured the distance of the fram height plus the spacing (14 1/2″) and hammered in the second nail.  He repeated this step for top nail.

Before hanging the prints, we played around with the order in which we wanted to hang them.  As you can see in the shot above, each print has a different colored circle.  I’ve been calling it a ball.  The black ball in the bluebird print ties it to the black squirrel, and the red-orange ball in the squirrel print ties it to the orange fox.  After deciding that this the way to go, I hung framed prints on the wall.

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49/365 Aesthetic Apparatus prints #365project

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Finished, I immediately wondered if I should have hung the prints with the fox on top, the bluebird in the center, and the squirrel on the bottom.  I am really liking how the colors in the prints also pull from red-orange framed chess board with the turquoise and ivory marble chess pieces on the table below.  What do you think?  Leave them as they are?

Historic Fixture

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gas pipe light #upcycle

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Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you buy yourself.  Or at least that is what my husband and I kept telling ourselves this Christmas.  As we shopped for others, we ALSO kept finding the perfect gifts for us.  We tried to resist, but in the case of this Peared Creation Classic American Brewery Lamp that we found at Homespun, our attempts were futile.  “To resist it is useless; it is useless to resist it….”

Umm, sorry!  (But can anyone name the artist and song?)  Seriously though, this light fixture had everything we love:

vintage ♥
upcycled ♥
industrial ♥
local ♥
handmade ♥
beer ♥

Beer, you ask?  Yes.  This lamp uses a vintage beer bottle from Indianapolis Brewing Company.  (To learn more about IBC, check out this post on Historic Indianapolis.)

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Indianapolis Brewing Company

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Add to this the fact that the light switch is a vintage faucet handle, and…well, who can blame us for eagerly finding a place in our budget to possess her?  Just look at her when she’s turned on.

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Indianapolis Brewing Co.

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What gift have you given yourself lately?